• Feb. 23, 2006
  • #6214

A interviews Joni about a Wheels for the World trip where she met a woman who couldn't express how thankful she was for her wheelchair and Bible.

AL: Joni, we've been hearing wonderful reports from the Wheels for the World team who is returning from Guatemala today after distributing over 200 wheelchairs to disabled children and adults up there in the mountains of Central America. 

JONI: And every one of those reports describes those disabled folks saying a heartfelt "thank you" to Christians here in America who prayed for them and played a part in providing a wheelchair and a Bible. 

AL: You know... that's one thing I always hear after a Wheels trip. These people are so poor - people not only in Guatemala, but other developing nations - and yet they are so thankful!

JONI: Al, that is so true. And I think we could learn a lesson from them. I'm thinking of an elderly disabled woman I met when I was in Africa last year - her name was Abumajah and she had been in bed for 14 years. And if she wasn't lying in bed, she was dragging her body around in the dirt by her hands.  

AL: So it was either on the floor for her... 

JONI: Or in bed.

AL: That sure limited her!  

JONI: More than we can imagine! Well, after our Christian physical therapist fit Abumajah to her wheelchair, I mean, this woman started crying. I wheeled up to her to ask if anything was the matter - I thought maybe the chair didn't fit right. But through a translator, she told me that she was so happy and so thankful. I asked her to explain what she meant, but all she could say in English was, "I am so happy and thankful... I thank you... thank the people... I thank for this chair... tell them I'm thanking... I am happy and full of thanking." 

AL: What else could you want from that, Joni? I don't think I've heard it expressed any better.  

JONI: And, Al, there was a lady that day right there who opened up her heart to Jesus. Abumajah may have been thankful for her wheelchair, but she was really thankful to hear about Jesus Christ for the first time as well. And to receive a Bible in her own language, the language of Twee. There's Ashante and Twee. And she received a Twee Bible.   

AL: That's great, Joni. You know, when I hear you describe Abumajah, I can't help but think of James 2:5. It says there, "Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom He promised to those who love him?"  

JONI: Oh, boy! If only we were saying, "Oh, I thank God. I'm so happy. I'm full of thankfulness. Right? Because today of Abumajah's example. I mean, she is so poor in the eyes of the world just as you said. This woman has reminded  me today to always and always be thankful in all things. If she could thank God for that wheelchair and Bible in the poverty, the dirt poor poverty of Africa. I mean, a gift so small, this Bible and wheelchair.  

AL: But so significant. 

JONI: Right. And if she can find things for which to give thanks in the midst of her bruising circumstances, friends listening, we all, we can and we should, we must be thankful. And it's why I am thankful our Wheels team is returning home today from Guatemala. 

AL: And, of course, Joni, they'll be bringing back many more stories, many more reasons to be grateful, not only for the opportunity of presenting wheelchairs to these who otherwise would have no hope but also the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ - that's what's paramount. So thank you for praying friend, for Wheels for the World. 

© Joni and Friends

Have You Been Encouraged?

  • Your email address will not be published with your comment or be displayed anywhere on our website.
  • We do not rent or sell your personal information to other companies or individuals.
  • For more information please see our privacy policy.